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Nymphus: Mithraic Initiation Rite Number Two

This is a reconstruction of the 2nd level initiation, the Nymphus or male bride.
Pedro Laranjeira Finisterra
1 Sep 2023
Nymphus: Mithraic Initiation Rite Number Two (2017)
for Mezzo, Tenor, Baritone and Piano

Mithras is a Roman god (possibly originating from Persia) who was worshipped between the 1st and 4th centuries AD. Roman soldiers brought Mithraism to Britain, where the religion caught on. Mithraic worshippers were all male, and the practice of Mithraism was restricted to initiates (as was the case with all mystery religions). There were seven levels of initiation, and though most of the rites with deliberately clouded in secrecy, a few details can be gleaned. The rest must be guessed at.

This is a reconstruction of the 2nd level initiation, the Nymphus or male bride. The symbols such as the lamp, veil, and goblets all appear in drawings or snatches of description. The Nymphus is married to Mithras, and, like a priest, asked to be celibate. A Mystagogue, probably a higher level initiate, leads the ceremony. In this recreation, the voice of Mithras is also heard. The scene is inspired, in part, by the newly restored Mithraeum in downtown London.

Libretto: Edward Einhorn
Composition: Pedro F. Finisterra

The Voice (Mezzo): Natalie Davies
Nymphus (Tenor): Florian Pierre Panzieri
Mystagogue (Baritone): Joël Terrin

Piano: Ashley Beauchamp
Conductor: Michael Papadopoulos

New Opera Scenes
Goodenough College
London, United Kingdom
May 16th, 2018



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